Tribe Daily Invitational 2012 RecapBack in Spring Training... I had an idea. A real good idea at the time. I would establish dominance among you faithful readers and followers. I would flex my fantasy baseball muscle and in the process, feel good about how awesome I am.
As you know by now, that was a mistake because I let too many good people in. The result of this experiment? I came in fifth place and the team I cursed the most in the draft (Gatsby Green) ended up winning, as no surprise to me.
It was a fun season and while I missed out on a few recaps towards the end, it was fun to follow.
The lack of trash talk was mildly disappointing though. Seriously...
With that in mind, I've done my own due-diligence in getting my hands dirty by creating awards that are either really cool, or, will make you hate yourself.
Okay not really... But it will be mildly amusing. At least in my mind...
AND THE AWARD GOES TO... UM...
The Worst Ever
Remember how horrible David Dellucci was? Yeah, me too. This year (and every year, if this continues) the award that remembers how horrible David Dellucci was goes to the team that finished last. That in no way means Hawk Blood is the worst ever... Just in 2012, sorry... It was that or Jason Johnson.
Baby Louie Hates You
I'm not really sure what is going on here... Other than the fact that I wanted something to name after Baby Louie. I thought about making it something that revolved around a rookie of the year pick, but Louie wasn't ever any good so that would make no sense. So it centers with having everything to do with making a bad transaction, since acquiring him proved to be a bad transaction. This year it went to Clubhouse GM, who released Alex Rios, who went on to have a great year... This story isn't over yet though...
You are Jeremy Sowers
Man it would suck to be Jeremy Sowers... Look at him there... Anyway, this goes to the worst draft pick in 2012, usually a first round bust. This year it was Gatsby Green who took a Jacoby Ellsbury who played very little. Troy Tulowitzki was close, but uh. Still not bad considering the first pick didn't really contribute to a championship.
You are Vinnie Pestano
On the flipside of Jeremy Sowers is Vinnie Pestano, which was a great draft pick late. Before he dropped him, Clubhouse GM took Alex Rios in the final round. Ended up being a great pick... Minus the fact that it wasn't Clubhouse GM who reaped the rewards, he had the foresight to draft him.
Eric Wedge's Grinder
I really don't know why Eric Wedge is here... I like that mustache and it makes me laugh... And Grinder! GRINDER! Inglewood Corndogs made a nice rise through the standings, finishing fourth. That seems like it would be a good reason to give him this award. Sure.
Lou Brown Motivational Award for Greatness
This is my favorite award because A) Lou Brown is awesome, B) This picture is awesome, and C) Lou Brown is still awesome... This ultimately goes to the team that had the biggest late season push, which in my eyes was Thome Don't Play That.
This is obviously the Championship trophy for The Tribe Daily Invitational. It is more than that though, it is a Super Championship. And CRUSTY RUSTY is inside it too! That's awesome. Gatsby Green is the winner of course by virtue of finishing in first and winning the Championship.
Acquiring Albert Pujols after his slide charged this team up and really helped aid an offense that had a lot of underrated parts. Chase Headley, Dexter Fowler, Rajai Davis, Howie Kendrick and the breakout Josh Reddick kept the offense afloat, but this team's championship won on with pitching. With Cy Young candidates Johnny Cueto and R.A. Dickey leading the way, there was no better group of relievers with Fernando Rodney, Aroldis Chapman, and Jonathan Papelbon.
A second place finish for Clubhouse GM, a strong team all season long thanks to the likes of rookies Mike Trout, Yu Darvis, Yoenis Cespedes and Bryce Harper. Throw in the fact that he had the best offensive player in the game in Miguel Cabrera, a good second baseman in Aaron Hill, and outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, I'm surprised this was a second place team if only by two points.
Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman, and Aramis Ramirez... So that's where all the third basemen went. And for awhile Melky Cabrera was helping this team shoot up the standings. If only he would have made a switch when the suspension was handed down and didn't waste the spot for a good chunk of the season. The third place finish was thanks in part to having solid pitching with Matt Cain, Kyle Lohse, Jordan Zimmerman and Jeremy Hellickson.
I'm jealous of how this team turned out. At first it was a slow start, but Inglewood found their way out thanks to breakout performances from Ian Desmond, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Gomez, Alcides Escobar, Kris Medlen, Matt Harrison, and Tom Wilhelmsen. Not only that, David Price, Prince Fielder, and Carlos Beltran are pretty good.
I tried. I tweaked this team as much as possible. But man did I disappoint in the end of it all. If only Jose Bautista didn't get hurt. I stuck with Pedro Alvarez, when at times he wasn't worth sticking, yet I did reap those rewards. My outfielders hurt and with Giancarlo Stanton in and out, I couldn't find production. C.J. Wilson fell off, but I was lucky to have breakout Ernest Frieri, Chris Sale, Madison Bumgarner, Vinnie Pestano, and of course Jered Weaver. I ended up falling just short in several categories that could have made the difference in the standings, but that was the story of the year for Crusty Rusty.
The Feather heads were in last midway through the season, so to finish sixth is pretty good. There are solid players from Andre Ethier to Shin-Soo Choo to Mark Trumbo, but the lack of one heavy hitter may have deprived this team from making more of a move. Pitching wise if Dan Haren didn't stumble and Colby Lewis didn't get hurt, this teams pitching staff would look a lot better paired with Felix Hernandez, Jimy Johnson, and Tyler Clippard.
Justin Verlander, Ole Hamels, James Shields, there were some studs on this team in the pitching department. Even A.J. Burnett, Chris Perez, Wade Miley, and breakout start Lance Lynn helped make up a good looking staff. But the thing that hurt the most? The hurting of Matt Kemp most likely. Kemp's hot start got Ogea Can You See? a hot lead to start things off, but when he went down, so did the team with not much surrounding support.
It is only fitting that Grady's Back was as present as Grady Sizemore was. If the team was checked up on, it might have did better, like how the team started off on fire and beating the entire league. Then injuries hit. Luckily the team managed to avoid most injuries, with only several spots really having issues. For the most part, all the positions were productive. What hurt more than was not getting production out of spots was having Nick Swisher, Josh Willingham, and Marco Scutaro all on the bench.
If Joey Votto was there all year... This team does better than ninth place. Alex Gordon, Josh Hamilton, Andrew McCutchen, and Carlos Gonzalez make up the best outfield the league had. Throw in one of the best catcher's and first basemen and things could have been much better offensively.
It wasn't for a lack of effort and it wasn't for a lack of talent. Mike Napoli, Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Phillips, Adam Jones, Clayton Kershaw, Rafael Soriano, and Adam Jones. A lot going on there. Heck throw in the breakout year of Edwin Encarnacion and this team had some talent. But Napoli was hurt for a time, Gonzalez disappointed, Phillips was okay, and the pitching overall was, so-so. It just didn't work in the end.
This was a lot of fun and next year, it will no doubt be back. Once again, it will be an invitational so you will have a chance to get in on the action if you want. Look for the second edition of The Tribe Daily Invitational in March and hopefully you aren't any good, because I might not let you in. Kidding. I will, begrudgingly.